Sunday, August 14, 2016

CMBA Blog Profile: Journeys in Classic Film

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and the 15th of the month. Today we're toasting Kristen from Journeys in Classic Film.

If you're looking for all-out zeal for classic movies, you'll find it at Journeys in Classic Film.

Kristen, a prolific blogger, podcaster and CMBA Board Member, infuses her website with a fresh, energetic vibe. She offers film and book reviews, news updates, and interviews with classic film biographers and actors – such as actress Jane Withers.

"I still get readers who ask me about getting in touch with [Jane] and mentioning how she shaped their lives or other personal anecdotes," says Kristen. "This was the second interview I ever did and the first with someone directly connected to what I was writing about. Jane was so sweet and funny (and actually wanted a picture of me!). I could have talked to her for hours."

You can read Kristen's interview HERE.
CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Journeys in Classic Film: I've been asked this several times before and I'm not sure if it was a spark or a slow culmination. I'd always had classic movies on in my house in some form - predominately Disney animated features or The Wizard of Oz. When I was in sixth grade, we did a Tudor history unit where I was the only one who adored the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days. If any film could be the catalyst it was that one. For the first time I saw a sumptuousness that I didn't see in current cinema. When I was a senior I took a film class and after watching Singin' in the Rain and Splendor in the Grass I was hooked on classic cinema completely.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Journeys in Classic Film: There are two ways to approach the classic conundrum - time and content. The simplest answer would be, when reviewing films for my site, I limit to the "classic" era of pre-1980. Yes, I know most people only consider studio-era as the true classic, but the 1970s was a landmark decade and an ocean of time separates those films from today. From a content standpoint a classic is a movie that's timeless - that, regardless of changing fashions or technology, you can still appreciate what it sets out to do. 

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Journeys in Classic Film: Horror is the easiest way to get people into classics since everyone loves a good scare and there's little that time can do to change fear, so I always recommend Bride of Frankenstein or Psycho. Other titles that are good beginner tales are Singin' in the Rain - gives you a nice historic overview of cinema - or The Wizard of Oz.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Journeys in Classic Film: You can only appreciate the cinema of today by looking at the past. So much regarding changing content, ratings, genres, directorial influences all have their roots in classic cinema. There's a reason Quentin Tarantino fills his movies with references to old Hollywood and knowing those references makes you a more informed viewer, better able to appreciate film in its totality. On the other side of the coin, classic cinema can really help you from a personal standpoint. I know I've measured surgeries, sickness, and family issues through the classic films that helped me get through them.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Journeys in Classic Film: The people I've met, and I'm not saying the stars who have graciously agreed to talk to me, I'm talking about the readers. My site started out as experiment just to see if I could maintain it. I never assumed I'd still be running it nearly four years later and that's because people keep stopping by to read it! I've had people stop me at TCM Film Festivals and say they love my work or bring up my weird quirks that I've mentioned on the site (like my undying love for Cliff Robertson). It never ceases to humble me because these people don't have to read my site - I think there are writers far better than me - but they do and that will always be the best reward.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Journeys in Classic Film: I'm a perfectionist so I'm always trying to better my writing. I review a lot so there comes a point where saying a movie is good or bad in words that sound coherent and eloquent just doesn't happen and, I'll admit, some of my reviews are written out of a need to just finish and move on. I always feel that I'm not verbose in my thoughts enough. When I'm hitting that wall I try to watch movies I don't have to write on and just let the thoughts go. Or I'll read film books and look at their word choices and hopefully that'll inspire me. Of course the other challenge is finding the time to write and/or getting all the content out in a timely manner. In those instances all I can do is try to pre-plan as best I can.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Journeys in Classic Film: Other than the tired adage of "If you think you'll make buckets of money you're wrong?" Really I'd say write because you want to and develop a voice that's your own. Readers come back to me because they know what to expect. They feel comfortable agreeing or disagreeing with me because I've clearly stated my opinions. Also, make sure whatever your writing on gives you variety. It's easy to say you'll just be a reviewer but that can cause you to burn-out quickly. Depending on your focus try to include top 10 lists, articles, and other forms of media that'll give your mind a break while engaging readers.

Thank you for joining us, Kristen! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.


  1. Great summary of your enthusiasm for classic film and your advice for others Kristen. Your passion shows in your blog. Nice to know more about you.

  2. They sure like to revive the old days by remaking the movies..

  3. A continually interesting and often fascinating blog.